Women’s Sport Trust and R&A study finds there are six million “committed” women’s sport fans in the UK

Barcelona women's football Getty 2

A study from the Women’s Sport Trust and the R&A has found that followers of women’s sport in the UK are undeserved with non-live content.

The research, which marks the launc of a partnership between the pair ahead of the Women’s Open later this year, also found that there are six million committed fans of at least one women’s sport in the UK - committed meaning those who score 5 out of 5 on claimed passion for one or more women’s sports and watch one hour or more of live women’s sport content per week.

Most of these committed fans are also supporters of men’s sport, with only 180,000 being committed fans of only women’s sport. There were 16 million committed fans of at least one men’s sport.

More than half (58%) of committed women’s sports fans wish there was more non-live women’s sport content available and nearly half (47%) of committed women’s sports fans believe it is difficult to know where to find non-live women’s sports content. In addition, only half (52%) of committed women’s sports fans feel enough notifications are available to follow women’s sport, in comparison to two-thirds (69%) of men’s sports fans.

Women's Sport Trust x R&A research

Meanwhile, best shots/goals highlights packages, player skills, game play and tactical analysis, and player personalities and stories are the content strands which appeal most to committed women’s sports fans - but some found these hard to find.

Women's Sport Trust R&A research 2

When it comes to where women’s sport should be available, 82% of committed women’s sports fans think it should be shown free-to-air, and 61% of committed women’s sports fans would like to see a dedicated women’s sports channel. 40% of this committed women’s sports fanbase claim indicatively that they would be willing to pay a small subscription fee to access a dedicated women’s sports only channel, with fans claiming about £7 a month would be a fair and reasonable price.

Tammy Parlour, CEO and co-founder of the Women’s Sport Trust, said: “While women’s sport continues to demonstrate significant growth, both existing and new fans of women’s sport need to be better served by rights holders, broadcasters and sponsors providing the content formats they most want to consume and making them easier to access.

“Just as broadcasters such as BBC and Sky have made live women’s sport easier to access on TV and been rewarded with record-breaking viewing figures this year, we need to ensure that a greater range of digital experiences are available to fans to satisfy growing audience interest. This will help ensure we build greater habit with domestic leagues and competitions and create opportunities to monetise this growing and commercially valuable fanbase.

“We welcome the commitment from The R&A, through this collaboration, to delve deeper into the fandom of women’s sports and look forward to working with them to help them to use this insight to better serve engaged women’s sports fans and continue to grow the visibility and commercial viability of women’s sport.”

Jackie Davidson, director of golf development at The R&A, added: “The Women’s Sport Trust’s insight and expertise means they were the perfect partner in delivering insight into what fans look for in women’s sport. This research is the first of its kind to involve the golf industry and we believe it will be very helpful in shaping our strategy over the next few years to meet the needs of our fans.”